PROBLEMS FACED BY SERBS IN KOSMET

2/9/2010

Kosovo has been the main topic of talks on the Serbian and international political scene. The Serbian Orthodox Church is concerned over the fate of Kosmet Serbs and their heritage. More from Ljiljana Sinđelić Nikolić.

The Serbian Orthodox Church bishop of Lipljan and prior of Decani, Teodosije, received, in the monastery of Gračanica in late August, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle. He told his guest that eleven years after the armed conflicts two thirds of Kosmet Serbs are still displaced and only elderly Serbs have remained in towns, which is a result of years-long violence and ethnic discrimination exerted by Kosovo Albanians against Serbs.

His words become visibly clear when one visits the town of Prizren, formerly inhabited by ten thousand Serbs. There are only 19 Serbs there now and just one Serb child, a five-year-old girl, Milica, whose only company are her parents and several monks. It is necessary to enable displaced Serbs to return, to lead a peaceful life and to exercise their rights, said the bishop. The German minister stressed that minority protection should mean that minorities have security and that their identity is protected. However, in the Kosmet town of Đakovica, it was only last year that the first Serbs returned after the violent attacks mounted by Kosovo Albanians on Serbs in March 2004. The first Serbs that have returned are two elderly ladies, who are now living in a churchyard, as their houses have been destroyed. In mid-August, some unknown persons demolished three houses that were being built for Serbs in the village of Žač, near Istok, although the area is supposed to be guarded by the Kosovo police.

Bishop Teodosije also spoke about the need of the restoration of many Serbian Orthodox sanctities that have been levelled to the ground by Kosovo Albanians since 1999. For instance, in two days alone in March 2004, Kosovo Albanians destroyed 30 Serbian churches and two monasteries. No perpetrators of those criminal acts have been brought to justice, nor have the perpetrators of crimes committed against Serb children in Goraždevac, or of crimes committed against Serb reapers in Staro Gracko or passengers on a Serbian bus. The Serbian Orthodox Church is very concerned over the decision of NATO to, in these difficult moments, where there is no trace of stability in the region, entrust the delicate issue of the preservation of sanctities of the Serbian Orthodox Church to the Kosovo police.

The German minister said his government would remain actively engaged in resolving the current issue and enabling normal and peaceful life for all and the protection of all the churches and monasteries.

Political talks and meetings at various levels are held daily and promises are given daily as well. The fact is that Serb children in Kosovo cannot go to school, as they are not safe, that their parents have been rendered jobless, that there are no available hospitals and that everyone can attack them without bearing any consequences, without being brought to justice and without any investigation being launched.

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